|Finances in Dixon are Tight
|By: Darrell Todd Maurina
|Posted: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 2:06 am
DIXON, Mo. (Nov. 5, 2008) — Finances in Dixon are tight, Mayor Darrell French warned at Monday night’s city council meeting.
Dixon City Collector Sheila Ellzey explains the city's financial status to aldermen at the Monday, Nov. 3 city council meeting.
“Our funds are getting low but they will start coming in with tax time,” French said. “And bear in mind that we spend $60,000 on (water) wells this year alone.”
Alderman William Carter wasn’t as optimistic.
“I wouldn’t hold my breath on those taxes being paid on time, either,” Carter said.
While tax payments have sometimes been problematic in Dixon, French complimented the new city collector, Sheila Ellzey, on the 2007 tax collection rate of 97 percent for real estate and 93 percent for personal property.
“I need to say you have done a tremendous job of collecting — it has never been that high,” French said. “So keep up the good work.”
Ellzey said the tax bills for 2008 are ready to mail on Wednesday.
“I’ve got the taxes all ready to go, but I can’t mail them until the fifth,” Ellzey said.
Responding to questions from aldermen, Ellzey said a new policy on late fees for unpaid utility bills hasn’t made a major difference in who pays. Many of the same people continue to be late on many months, Ellzey said.
City Clerk Karen Hardwick reported that she’s gone through the city’s financial records and has found numerous certificates of deposit and other accounts, but it’s not clear whether some of the accounts may be restricted. About $135,000 is in various certificates of deposit, she said.
French said several cost-cutting moves this year have been successful, including putting city workers on a schedule of four ten-hour days rather than the standard workweek of five eight-hour days. That’s saved about $500 per month, French said, but the schedule can’t continue into the winter months because of lack of available light.
“Overall it’s a good deal; anytime you can save $500 a month, it’s good,” French said.
After reviewing city policies, aldermen voted to give a vacation day to employees on the day after Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas, since this year Christmas falls on a Thursday and that will allow a four-day weekend. The traditional half-day off on Christmas Eve and the day before Thanksgiving will be eliminated, however, and aldermen decided not to give a four-day weekend over the New Years Day holiday.
Even though the local banks won’t be giving four-day holidays, Alderman Vi Tyson, who works in a company on the downtown Waynesville square across from the county courthouse, said it’s fine for city employees.
“I don’t have a problem with it; across from me at the courthouse, they close for everything, even days I didn’t know were holidays,” Tyson said.
“What happens if we have snow?” asked Alderman William Carter.
Vacations don’t affect emergencies, French said.
“Every week there is a rotation for everyone,” French said. “If a water line breaks, three people come in to fix it, and the same for snow.”
In other matters:
· Dixon received two bids for repairs to the roof for the city’s water treatment plant, one for $4,150 from Above and Beyond from Osage Beach and another for $3,450 from Neil’s Roofing of Dixon. After determining that Neil’s Roofing didn’t have the insurance city officials wanted, the aldermen voted to give the repair contract to Above and Beyond.
· Cheryl Chambers of Dixon placed a $400 bid for a used Dixon police car, after being cautioned that the vehicle was being sold in “as-is” condition.
“I understand; I have a good mechanic,” Chambers said.
· French reported that he’s received a request from a Waynesville resident to name a street after Paul Orr, a former Dixon resident who is a country music songwriter and is from the Rigsby family of Pulaski County. French asked the aldermen to decide before the next council meeting whether they’d like to rename a street, and if so, which street should be renamed.
· French reported that U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill will come to Dixon at 10 a.m. Monday to present a check for an economic development organization in Dixon.
· Carter reported that he hasn’t been able to get help from the Pulaski County Health Department to deal with a potentially dangerous house in Dixon.
“The first thing out of their mouths was, ‘We are underfunded and undermanned,’” Carter said. “They’re responsible for the restaurants and the day cares and now they’ve taken on a lot of the sewers ... we’re not looking for a handout; we just want some help.”